The wreck happened on U.S. Highway 79, about 1.4 miles south of New Summerfield, according to a news release from The Texas Department of Public Safety.
DPS identified the deceased as 24-year-olds Michael Estrada, Christian Josue Chavez, Jaime Estrada Benitez and 22-year-old Saul Mancera.
DPS trooper Steven Crosby said all four men were in a Chevrolet Lumina driven by Estrada on their way home from drinking and gambling at the boats in Shreveport.
Just before 8 a.m., they were headed home when the car veered into the oncoming lane. The Lumina side-swiped a Chevrolet S-10 Blazer and hit an 18-wheeler head on before the car caught on fire, Crosby said. The drivers of the other vehicles were unharmed, he said.
“There was alcohol in the car, and they had been drinking all night, but I don’t think that was the reason (for the crash) …” Crosby said.
Based on witness reports and crash indicators, Crosby said the driver likely fell asleep at the wheel. He said a mixture of alcohol, lack of sleep and a long drive time likely made him sleepy.
“The witness said they slowly veered,” Crosby said “(The driver) wasn’t making any jerky actions. He kind of veered into the lane. The (Blazer) pulled on the shoulder to get away from him, and he took no evasive action.”
After the first hit, Estrada likely woke up. Crosby said both Estrada and the front passenger had broken wrists, possibly from jerking the wheel.
Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Tony Johnson ordered an autopsy, and the men were sent to a Tyler lab, Crosby said.
Staff Writer Betty Waters contributed to this report.